Month: January 2013

Wohnung

Hi everyone!Been a bit lazy on the blogging front of late. Mostly because on Monday we did the handing over of keys (Ubergabe) for OUR NEW APARTMENT!Very excited about it, but also very tired and sore.Someone at the institute was moving out of an apartment in Berlin, so on Saturday we hired a car and Andy very bravely drove us on the icy roads up to Berlin, and back, and to Berlin, and back, and again, and back. Thank goodness for Sat Nav.Anyway, we had to get the stuff on Saturday, and didn’t move in ’til Monday.. we were fortunate enough to be able to store the heavier stuff in our friend’s Kellar- he lives just down the road from us… but then had to do the second lugging yesterday evening to get it into our house.We now own a desk, some chairs, a coffee table, a washing machine, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe some lamps, a bookshelfything, a sound system, and a few other things.The lamps are incredibly helpful, as German apartments come without lights …

Raced-based-generalisations

Apart from the obvious: All kinds of wurst; Cabbages in their infinite varieties including juice;101 uses for a potato; Pork and the delicious smoking thereof; Socks with sandals (seriously- my supervisor is loving this look);and, according to our ‘secret blogger’; dogs in stores, Germans have another ‘secret’ obsession. Germans. Love. Kangaroos. It’s possible that I have some sort of confirmation bias/Baader-Meinhof thing going on.. but I have to say, I’m  pretty sure there is a LOT of Kangaroo based stuff going on here. If you were to divide the occurrence of kangaroo insignia, over the probability of every finding an actual real kangaroo in the country, I’m going to put my money on Germany coming out the winner (or maybe a close second to Austria, who has that whole ‘we-are-not-as-cool-as-Australia-no-kangaroos-in-Austria’ chip on its shoulder). And I know it’s an exotic. And I know that the idea of perpetually sunny Australia is enough to make Winterlanders froth at the mouth (as a side note- we have a 37 degree room in the institute for growing bacteria- I’ve started replying to the ‘it must be nice …

Backdate- Schloss Charlottenburg..

Boxing day was a public holiday, and the general consensus within the group (Andy and I, plus Lauren and her friend Grace) was to do something nice and touristy.So in the early hours Andy and I hopped on our train- which for some reason had the destination of ‘Happy Birthday’ (perhaps it was a belated wish for Baby Jesus?), and headed to meet the young ladies at Schloss Charlottenburg- Berlin’s largest palace. Incidentally, that’s probably all the factual context you’re going to get from me- despite having audioguide in English I can’t say that I retained a great deal of the information. I’m pretty sure that everyone was called Freidrich…. but beyond that I refer you to wiki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlottenburg_Palace As you can see, it was a lovely day. Being the hungry students that we are, we were clever enough to time our visit with the final day of Charlottenburg Christmas markets. Bretzels for all! Here is us being the disgusting tourists that we are: The inside of the palace was perhaps as grandiose as one would …

They Have Found Me.

A lovely German Gentleman joined us on the bus, and then in our personal space, and proceeded to talk to us, in German, about the fact that we were speaking English. And probably a great many other things- I now know that meeting the Bus Folk is even more disorienting when you don’t know if you don’t understand what they’re talking at you about because of a language barrier, or because of a sanity barrier.I told him that I cannot understand German very well.He responded by showing us his shopping list.Which, from our combined and possibly faulty-due-to-traumatic-stress memories, included bread, 2x Twix bars and butter.He then decided to practice his English, by declaring ‘I love you’ to me repeatedly, which seemed a little premature, given that we had just met. I contemplated telling him that, alas! my heart belongs to another, but went for option b instead: don’t engage.Of course, pretending not to understand THAT was probably a mistake, because he then started telling us in German that I love you was English so he …

A Brief, Delicious Break from all that Holidaying

Last year’s Christmas-NewYear break (the one last week, not 2011) saw public holidays on Monday-Wednesday of the Christmas-Eve, Christmas-Day, Boxing-Day, and on the Monday-Tuesday of the next week. Which, what with the weekend, stuck us with ‘official working days’ on Thursday and Friday (Dec. 27 and 28). A lot of people took official holidays, and almost all of the rest just didn’t bother to show up.. which left us with about 10-15 people in the whole of A.G Bock… including Mr and Mrs Bock themselves, three Iranians, three Chinese, a couple of Chileans and two Australians (heheheh). Luckily, those who bothered to drag themselves into the institute (in my case, a whole 500 m from my Guesthouse), were treated with Theme Time Mahlzeit hour…. As a sidenote- the word Mahlzeit, one of the most commonly shouted words and thus one of the first I learnt in the institute is made up of Meal (Mahl) plus Time/hour (Zeit, as in Zeitgeist, which always struck me as a child as being a rather stupid word- NOW I get …

New Year Berlin.

Despite being the grumpy very-nearly-old people that we are, Andy and I managed to haul ourselves into Berlin for New Years Eve 2012 Don’t get so excited- that’s just a ticket for the train…. We stumbled off at the Haubtbahnhof, and after fueling up on some coffees (which included Andy drinking a double expresso and snubbing his nose at my Lebkuchen= gingerbread flavoured coffee), headed towards Strasse des 17. Juni… which runs down through the Tiergarten from the Brandenburg Gate. The platz outside the Hauptbahnhof was a dedicated area for small scale fireworks.. some of which were amazingly cool and others, like one that popped and then split into twenty smaller parts that all whizzed chaotically in different directions at nearly-ground level, were terrifying. Honestly, the ones that went off into the air in a spray of lights like this made me think of Harry Potter and the Dark Mark. This one is even Green! The view was pretty spectacular: You can see the moon, the tower at Alexander Platz and the Reichstag …  The Gate, and …